Have you ever joined a Spartan Race?
This series of obstacle races was founded by Joe de Sena in 2007. Basically, you have to go through different obstacles and run as well in a muddy mountain or hill until you reach the Finish line.
It has evolved into many categories to accommodate people of different fitness levels. In the very basic phase, you only have to go through 20 obstacles in a total distance of 5 kilometers. And if you join the Open category, you can do the obstacles with the help of other participants. If you are unable to do an obstacle, you will be required to do a penalty of 15 to 30 burpees.
Of course, there are more advanced levels with a longer distance to cover and more obstacles to finish. The degree of obstacles also vary, from easy to difficult. All these depend on your fitness level, motivation, courage, and the confidence that you can do it.
It’s also a lot more fun to join a Spartan race if you are going with friends, family, or your special someone. You can finish the obstacles together or with each one of you cheering for one another. You also celebrate the victory of finishing the race together.
If you are going alone, there is also a lot of fun in that. You will get to meet new friends with almost the same mindset as yours and who share the same interests too. The community is very open and approachable—they all want you to have fun and to believe in yourself a little more.
After the race, or even while it is happening, you will learn about your limits and your potential. You will know what to accept in terms of what you can’t do and also push yourself that you can do anything you set your mind into. You will become much more confident and ready to conquer whatever curveball life throws at you.
It will be best to come prepared for a Spartan race. It requires a high level of endurance for you to be able to go through all of it, from start to finish. And the obvious way to build endurance is to start training way before the race.
First, you need to focus on high intensity interval training. You would be doing lots of jumps and even include running in the mix. This means you have to be pumped for it by doing cardio exercises such as running and circuit training. You can practice with your body weight doing jumping jacks, burpees, box jumps, squats, and the like. You can do sprints in place or run in your neighborhood. You can start by running for 15 minutes a day until you can build it up to an hour. You are in no competition against anyone other than the voices in your head saying you can’t do it or it’s pointless to join anyway. Your motivation must be strong so that you will keep on going.
You would need a strong upper body to finish most of the obstacles. It doesn’t just involve a lot of jumping; it also includes a large amount of strength. You need to be able to carry your body to reach heights, to pull yourself up, or to finish monkey bars and hoops. One way to prepare is to practice your pull-ups. Again, your arms must be trained by weightlifting and once you have stronger arms, it will be much easier for you to lift your body up. Pull-ups might look easy when you’re just watching a person do it but try it out for yourself without any prior workouts and you would realize how difficult it is. It takes time to do even just one pull-up but if you are consistent in training how to do at least one or five, you will for sure get to the point that you are trying to achieve.
As mentioned, you can do a lot of dumbbell and barbell work that includes pulls and pushes. Your back will also be strengthened in the process. If your aim is to carry a heavier weight, you can do less repetitions with the maximum weight you can carry at the moment. If you want to do more reps, then get a weight that’s lighter. The more you life, the more reps and the heavier weights you can carry. Why? Because you build muscle. Remember that form is important so adjust the number of reps or how heavy you’re carrying when your form is not proper. You are just wasting time or you are impeding your progress if your form is not correct.
To be more consistent with your workout routine, we highly suggest that you set up a gym at your home. You can start with having plates and dumbbells, if you don’t have enough budget. The garage is the best area for us because there’s ample space to move around and you won’t need to move furniture out of the way to make space for your equipment and for the movements that you will do. Well, this means that you have to declutter your garage and install smart storage solutions such as overhead storage racks and wall shelves. These storage units can maximize the storing capacity of your garage and free up the floor for all the exercise that you are going to do.
Once you have built up your strength and endurance, you can go three to five times in an obstacle gym before the big race day. In this way, you’d be able to try the obstacles and see what you can and cannot do. The coaches in these gyms will share tips and tricks for you to be able to pull off the obstacles. Take note of these tips because you will need them come Race day. For others, they join a team so that they are more accountable and they have a support system throughout their Spartan journey.
As part of your training, do not take rest for granted. You can’t always be pushing your muscles to the limit. They need to rest and recharge too. As much as possible, you should already be resting in the week of the race so come Race Day, you are prepared and ready to conquer it.
Best of luck!